Democrats shore up support for general election

By The Star Democrat

GRASONVILLE – As the general election for key local and state offices beckons, Queen Anne’s County Democrats gathered in a show of unity at a luncheon Saturday, July 21.

Keynote speaker Kathleen Matthews, chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party, addressed nearly 150 supporters at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center with a simple message: The blue wave sweeping Republican strongholds across the country is only real if voters and supporters show up.

“We’re excited about this general election and about the candidates up and down the ballot,” Matthews said. “The Queen Anne’s County Democratic Central Committee has been an amazing partner with the state party and has rallied an amazing level of energy. The number of democrats that ran in primaries is emblematic of people who feel they need to take back control of our democracy.”

Candidates currently on the Democratic ballot for the general election include Ben Jealous and Susan Turnball for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively; Ben Cardin for U.S. senator; Brian Frosh for state attorney general; Jesse Colvin for Maryland’sFirst District in U.S. Congress; state legislature delegate candidates for District 36 include Michael Ian Welker in Cecil County, Crystal Woodward for Queen Anne’s County and Keirien Taylor for Caroline County.

Local candidates include Elaine Harrison for the at-large seat for Queen Anne’s County commissioner; Dino Romano LaMana for District 1 county commissioner; Benjamin Tilghman for District 2 county commissioner; Jim Coulter for District 3 county commissioner; Deborah Krueger for District 4 county commissioner; judge of the orphans’ court candidates include Fred M. McNeil, Willie Mae Pauls, and John C. Stires; Kevin Rhodes is vying for the Queen Anne’s County sheriff post.

“The work that we did with the central committee in phone banks and (block walking) was hearing the issues on the Eastern Shore,” Matthews said. “The number one issue voters told us was affordable health care. And Republican Congressman (Andy) Harris has taken every opportunity to vote against the Affordable Care Act.”

The 25-year resident of Montgomery County said the compendium of issues including the economy and education creates the ladder of opportunity that is more important than ever to the future of the state.

As part of the program, candidates spoke to crowd about their platform and why they chose to run for office.

“I’m an Eastern Shore native and my parents were small business owners,” Woodward said. “They taught me to do the right thing even if it was difficult. I’m running because I feel a sense of urgency that things on the Shore aren’t going as well as they should be. This is our year to turn this ship around. Advocacy and getting things done are my passion.”

Many of the candidates also took aim at the current of Republican administration on the Eastern Shore. That included calling out incumbents on lack of investing in alternative fuels and lackluster efforts in job creation.

With many of the candidates funding their campaigns through personal monies, financial support for basic resources like signage is mostly comprised of small donations. Larger war chests, and even combined efforts like those of “Team 36” in Queen Anne’s County, show several candidates on the same sign.

“It’s vital that we turn things around and start making our government work for us. That’s instead of paying their tax burdens they put on the voters. We could do more to lower our income taxes and leverage our public and private partnerships,” Harrison said.

At the state level, Harris faces a challenge from 34-year-old Jesse Colvin, who is a veteran after serving as an Army ranger with multiple tours oversees. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University.

Voters questioned the fourth-generation Marylander on everything from key political differences between him and the incumbent and what he hopes to accomplish should he be elected.

“It is not enough to be against something,” Colvin said. “Your anger about Rep. Harris and the Twitter feed coming out of the (White House) got you in the room. You have to be willing to work for something. What we’re for is keeping people here with good jobs and affordable health care.”

Colvin hammered Harris on his environmental record and the projected 54,000 individuals in Maryland with health insurance polices through the ACA at risk of losing them through continued repeal efforts.

Early voting for the general election starts Thursday, Oct. 25, and runs through Thursday, Nov. 1,, from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.Election day is Nov. 6; polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. More information on the full slate of Queen Anne’s County Democratic candidates can be found at www.qacdems.org.

This article provided by NewsEdge.